When will I be good?
It’s a question we have all asked ourselves. The question can be applied to everything we do – art, sports, cooking, mathematics, writing, or attempting to nail that perfect golf swing. I think we are asking the wrong question.
“Good” means different things to different people. Are you good if you can make fluffy biscuits, but still can’t boil eggs without getting that gray halo on the yolks? What about bowling over 240 without a handicap? Maybe you’re only good some of the time – like when you can belt out Motown hits in the shower, but can’t sing “happy birthday” to your BFF in a restaurant. Does “good” mean that you have to be good at all of it, all of the time? Are we confusing “good” with “perfection”?
I think the question we need to be asking ourselves is, “am I satisfactorily competent”. It’s semantics, to be sure, but an important distinction. If you are considered good, then there seems to be a level of expectancy that you are an expert. If you are competent, you can still be good enough to perform the task without having the onus to be perfect. Kind of like the difference between the way I make a bed and the way my 7 year old does. I’m more thorough, but he does a competent job for a second grader. I would consider us both good at the task, even if I am better at it because his skill level is appropriate for his level of experience.
Is there still a place for those wanting to be an expert? Absolutely! But if you aren’t there yet, don’t beat yourself up with thinking you are never going to be good enough. Some days you perform better than others. Each one of those days gets closer to the next until you reach your goal.
If you want to be good, keep doing what you are doing, striving to improve over the last time; and expect to reach plateaus. Adapt, change, grow your knowledge-base, and enjoy the journey. Because in the end, you’ll get there faster if you don’t keep stopping to ask if you’re good enough.